Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I liked "The Song That Goes Like This."

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A few days ago I read the recently-released first volume of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga. (If you're unfamiliar with the whole Haruhi phenomenon, here's an introduction.) My advice, as a big fan of the anime who never gets tired of watching "The Adventures of Mikuru-chan Ep. 00",* is to stick to the anime or wait for the light novels, which are scheduled to be published in English starting in 2009.** And if you have read the manga but haven't seen the anime, don't judge the latter by the former. Even though the manga is written (at least ostensibly) by the author of the original light novels, and is presumably adapted directly from the light novels, it reads like a typical anime-to-manga adaptation. And that's not a good thing (despite my liking for the Tenshi ni Narumon! manga).

According to the article I linked to above, the manga's "target age group is younger than the original novels in order to expand the series' fan base." That isn't necessarily synonymous with being dumbed down, but in this case it is. The manga's story is basically the same as that of the anime (which, based upon what I've read of the first novel, seems to be faithful to it), though there are a lot of minor variations. But the manga's characters are not nearly as idiosyncratic as the anime's. They're more like the characters in a typical "wacky" high school comedy. In particular, Kyon's distinctive, sarcastic commentary, which sets the tone of the anime, is almost eliminated.

The manga's visuals add nothing to the story, and the art itself is generic.

*Not, incidentally, in this volume of the manga, which proceeds in strict chronological order.

**Though given the present state of the economy and its prospects for the near future, any reference to something being published in 2009 should have a "hopefully" attached to it.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I recently rewatched the TV adaptation of MPD-Psycho, which Takashi Miike directed. Then for comparison I read volumes 1-6 of the manga, which are all that are out in the U.S. if I'm not mistaken. The conjunction of the two made me realize two things. (Slight spoilers ahead.)

The first is that, aside from the basic attributes of the main characters and the "signature" images of the human flowerpots and the limbless woman, the TV series and the manga so far are pretty much independent of each other. Most of the events in the manga are absent from the TV series and vice versa. In particular, the pregnant woman murders, which are key to the TV series' plot, are not found in the manga. And while the group that plays a key role in the manga (I'm being vague so as not to spoil too much) nominally plays the same role in the TV series, it's dealt with so summarily that it's irrelevant for practical purposes. Amamiya/Nishizono's personality switches, which are common in the manga and crucial to the plot, are very rare in the TV series; in a sense, the series isn't about a "multiple personality detective" at all. The other characters are generally quite different in the manga and TV series, if they appear in both. In particular, this is true of Sasayama, who in the manga is just a policeman who leeches off Amamiya's work but in the TV series is a much more complex and interesting -- and important -- character. The manga and TV series are also quite different in tone and thematically.

The TV series was based not just on the manga, but on three MPD-Psycho novels, and these, along with the rest of the manga may be the source for those events in the TV series that aren't in the manga volumes which Dark Horse has published so far. But that doesn't explain why so much that's important to the manga is missing from the TV series.

My second realization is that I don't like the manga. Neither the individual arcs, nor the overall storyline, nor the characters interest me. Nor does the art do much for me. In fact, I'd been feeling dissatisfied for a while, but it took reading the whole thing at one go to make me realize just how little I was getting out of it. Also, I'd bought the manga in the first place because of the TV series, and it was only upon rewatching the TV series that I realized how little the two actually had to do with each other. In short, I was stupid and wasted a lot of money, especially since a local library recently acquired vols. 1-6 of the manga. (Yeah, my mind boggled too.)

I'll have some comments on the TV series itself in another post. Maybe.

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